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The economy of Japan
Japan
is a highly developed and market-oriented economy. It is the third-largest in the world by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP).[17][18] and is the world's second largest developed economy.[19] Japan
Japan
is a member of the G7. According to the International Monetary Fund, the country's per capita GDP (PPP) was at $37,519, the 28th highest in 2014,[20] down from the 22nd position in 2012.[21] Due to a volatile currency exchange rate, Japan's GDP as measured in dollars fluctuates widely. Accounting for these fluctuations through use of the Atlas method, Japan
Japan
is estimated to have a GDP per capita of around $38,490. Japan
Japan
is the world's third largest automobile manufacturing country,[22] has the largest electronics goods industry, and is often ranked among the world's most innovative countries leading several measures of global patent filings.[23] Facing increasing competition from China
China
and South Korea,[24] manufacturing in Japan
Japan
today now focuses primarily on high-tech and precision goods, such as optical instruments, hybrid vehicles, and robotics. Besides the Kantō region,[25][26][27][28] the Kansai region
Kansai region
is one of the leading industrial clusters and manufacturing centers for the Japanese economy.[29] The size and industrial structure of cities in Japan
Japan
have maintained tight regularities despite substantial churning of population and industries across cities overtime.[30] Japan
Japan
is the world's largest creditor nation.[31][32] Japan
Japan
generally runs an annual trade surplus and has a considerable net international investment surplus. As of 2010, Japan
Japan
possesses 13.7% of the world's private financial assets (the third largest in the world) at an estimated $13.5 trillion.[33] As of 2015, 54 of the Fortune Global 500 companies are based in Japan,[34] down from 62 in 2013.[35] Japan
Japan
has the highest ratio of public debt to GDP of any developed nation.[36][37] However, the national debt is predominantly owned by Japanese nationals.[38] The Japanese economy faces considerable challenges posed by a declining population.[39] Statistics showed an official decline for the first time in 2015, while projections suggest that it will continue to fall from 127 million down to below 100 million by the middle of the 21st century.[40] The Japanese economy is forecasted by the Quarterly Tankan survey of business sentiment conducted by the Bank of Japan.[41] The Nikkei 225
Nikkei 225
presents the monthly report of top Blue chip (stock market) equities on Japan Exchange Group.[42]

Contents

1 Overview of economy 2 Economic history

2.1 First contacts with Europe (16th century) 2.2 Edo
Edo
period (1603–1868) 2.3 Pre-war period (1868–1945) 2.4 Postwar period (1945–present)

3 Infrastructure 4 Macro-economic trend

4.1 GDP composition

5 Sectors of the economy

5.1 Agriculture

5.1.1 Fishery

5.2 Industry

5.2.1 Automobile manufacturing

5.3 Mining
Mining
and petroleum exploration 5.4 Services

5.4.1 Tourism

6 Finance 7 Labor force 8 Law and government 9 Culture

9.1 Overview 9.2 Keiretsu

10 Mergers and Acquisitions 11 Other economic indicators 12 See also 13 Notes 14 External links

Overview of economy[edit] In the three decades of economic development following 1960, Japan ignored defense spending in favor of economic growth,[43][44] thus allowing for a rapid economic growth referred to as the Japanese post-war economic miracle. By the guidance of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry,[45] with average growth rates of 10% in the 1960s, 5% in the 1970s, and 4% in the 1980s, Japan
Japan
was able to establish and maintain itself as the world's second largest economy from 1978 until 2010, when it was surpassed by the People's Republic of China. By 1990, income per capita in Japan
Japan
equalled or surpassed that in most countries in the West.[46] However, in the second half of the 1980s, rising stock and real estate prices caused the economic bubble to the Japanese economy by Bank of Japan. The economic bubble came to an abrupt end as the Tokyo
Tokyo
Stock Exchange crashed in 1990–92 and real estate prices peaked in 1991. Growth in Japan
Japan
throughout the 1990s at 1.5% was slower than growth in other major developed economies, giving rise to the term Lost Decade. After another decade of low growth rate, the term became the Lost 20 Years. Nonetheless, GDP per capita growth from 2001 to 2010 has still managed to outpace Europe and the United States.[47] Although 1.0% annual GDP growth is considered an aberration, Theodore Breton shows that this is the expected growth rate for a country with a shrinking work force and rates of investment in physical and human capital that have not increased since the 1970s.[48] His analysis indicates that Japan
Japan
has converged on its steady-state growth rate. With this low growth rate, national debt of Japan
Japan
is difficult for the government to manage due to its considerable social welfare spending related to an aging society.[36][37][49] The scenario of "Abandoned homes" continues to spread from rural areas to urban areas in Japan.[50][51][52][53][54] The Japanese economy rebounded under Junichirō Koizumi
Junichirō Koizumi
by acting against bad debts with commercial banks and privatizing the postal savings system. Abenomics
Abenomics
has thus far given the economy of Japan
Japan
a low and unsteady growth rate.[55] The ICT industry has generated the major outputs to the Japanese economy.[56][57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65] Japan
Japan
is the second largest music market in the world (for more, see Japan
Japan
Hot 100).[66] Manga cafe
Manga cafe
business expands to 2000 stores nationwide in Japan
Japan
in 2002.[67][68] With fewer children in the aging Japan, Japanese anime industry is facing growing Chinese competition in the targeted Chinese market.[69] Japanese manga industry (from the Japanese manga (and anime) profession[70][71]) enjoys popularity in most of the Asian markets,[72] and anime industry share in Japan
Japan
GDP has exceeded 10 percent.[73] Local gourmets of 47 Prefectures of Japan
Japan
are guided and promoted by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Japan).[74] Japan
Japan
Cup in the Tokyo
Tokyo
Racecourse is one of the richest horse racing in the world.[75] A mountainous, volcanic island country, Japan
Japan
has inadequate natural resources to support its growing economy and large population, and therefore exports goods in which it has a comparative advantage such as engineering-oriented, research and development-led industrial products in exchange for the import of raw materials and petroleum. Japan
Japan
is among the top-three importers for agricultural products in the world next to the European Union
European Union
and United States
United States
in total volume for covering of its own domestic agricultural consumption.[76] Japan is the world's largest single national importer of fish and fishery products.[77][78][79][80][81] Tokyo
Tokyo
Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market[82][83] is the largest wholesale market for primary products in Japan, including the renowned Tsukiji fish market.[84][85] Japanese whaling, ostensibly for research purposes, has been sued as illegal under international law. Although many kinds of minerals were extracted throughout the country, most mineral resources had to be imported in the postwar era. Local deposits of metal-bearing ores were difficult to process because they were low grade. The nation's large and varied forest resources, which covered 70 percent of the country in the late 1980s, were not utilized extensively. Because of political decisions on local, prefectural, and national levels, Japan
Japan
decided not to exploit its forest resources for economic gain. Domestic sources only supplied between 25 and 30 percent of the nation's timber needs. Agriculture
Agriculture
and fishing were the best developed resources, but only through years of painstaking investment and toil. The nation therefore built up the manufacturing and processing industries to convert raw materials imported from abroad. This strategy of economic development necessitated the establishment of a strong economic infrastructure to provide the needed energy, transportation, communications, and technological know-how. Deposits of gold, magnesium, and silver meet current industrial demands, but Japan
Japan
is dependent on foreign sources for many of the minerals essential to modern industry. Iron ore, copper, bauxite, and alumina must be imported, as well as many forest products. Economic history[edit]

An 1856 ukiyo-e depicting Echigoya, the current Mitsukoshi

Main article: Economic history of Japan The economic history of Japan
Japan
is one of the most studied economies for its spectacular growth in three different periods. First was the foundation of Edo
Edo
(in 1603) to whole inland economical developments, second was the Meiji Restoration
Meiji Restoration
(in 1868) to be the first non-European power, third was after the defeat of World War II (in 1945) when the island nation rose to become the world's second largest economy. First contacts with Europe (16th century)[edit] Main article: Nanban trade Japan
Japan
was considered as a country rich in precious metals, mainly owing to Marco Polo's accounts of gilded temples and palaces, but also due to the relative abundance of surface ores characteristic of a massive huge volcanic country, before large-scale deep-mining became possible in Industrial times.[86] Japan
Japan
was to become a major exporter of silver, copper, and gold during the period until exports for those minerals were banned.[87] Renaissance
Renaissance
Japan
Japan
was also perceived as a sophisticated feudal society with a high culture and a strong pre-industrial technology. It was densely populated and urbanized. Prominent European observers of the time seemed to agree that the Japanese "excel not only all the other Oriental peoples, they surpass the Europeans as well" (Alessandro Valignano, 1584, "Historia del Principo y Progresso de la Compania de Jesus en las Indias Orientales). Early European visitors were amazed by the quality of Japanese craftsmanship and metalsmithing. This stems from the fact that Japan itself is rather rich in natural resources found commonly in Europe, especially iron. The cargo of the first Portuguese ships (usually about 4 smaller-sized ships every year) arriving in Japan
Japan
almost entirely consisted of Chinese goods (silk, porcelain). The Japanese were very much looking forward to acquiring such goods, but had been prohibited from any contacts with the Emperor of China, as a punishment for Wakō pirate raids. The Portuguese (who were called Nanban, lit. Southern Barbarians) therefore found the opportunity to act as intermediaries in Asian trade. Edo
Edo
period (1603–1868)[edit] The beginning of the Edo
Edo
period coincides with the last decades of the Nanban trade
Nanban trade
period, during which intense interaction with European powers, on the economic and religious plane, took place. It is at the beginning of the Edo
Edo
period that Japan
Japan
built her first ocean-going Western-style warships, such as the San Juan Bautista, a 500-ton galleon-type ship that transported a Japanese embassy headed by Hasekura Tsunenaga
Hasekura Tsunenaga
to the Americas, which then continued to Europe. Also during that period, the bakufu commissioned around 350 Red Seal Ships, three-masted and armed trade ships, for intra-Asian commerce. Japanese adventurers, such as Yamada Nagamasa, were active throughout Asia. In order to eradicate the influence of Christianization, Japan
Japan
entered in a period of isolation called sakoku, during which its economy enjoyed stability and mild progress.[citation needed][88] Economic development during the Edo
Edo
period included urbanization, increased shipping of commodities, a significant expansion of domestic and, initially, foreign commerce, and a diffusion of trade and handicraft industries. The construction trades flourished, along with banking facilities and merchant associations. Increasingly, han authorities oversaw the rising agricultural production and the spread of rural handicrafts. By the mid-eighteenth century, Edo
Edo
had a population of more than 1 million and Osaka
Osaka
and Kyoto
Kyoto
each had more than 400,000 inhabitants. Many other castle towns grew as well. Osaka
Osaka
and Kyoto
Kyoto
became busy trading and handicraft production centers, while Edo
Edo
was the center for the supply of food and essential urban consumer goods. Rice was the base of the economy, as the daimyo collected the taxes from the peasants in the form of rice. Taxes were high, about 40% of the harvest. The rice was sold at the fudasashi market in Edo. To raise money, the daimyo used forward contracts to sell rice that was not even harvested yet. These contracts were similar to modern futures trading. During the period, Japan
Japan
progressively studied Western sciences and techniques (called rangaku, literally "Dutch studies") through the information and books received through the Dutch traders in Dejima. The main areas that were studied included geography, medicine, natural sciences, astronomy, art, languages, physical sciences such as the study of electrical phenomena, and mechanical sciences as exemplified by the development of Japanese clockwatches, or wadokei, inspired from Western techniques. Pre-war period (1868–1945)[edit] Since the mid-19th century, after the Meiji Restoration, the country was opened up to Western commerce and influence and Japan
Japan
has gone through two periods of economic development. The first began in earnest in 1868 and extended through to World War II; the second began in 1945 and continued into the mid-1980s. Economic developments of the prewar period began with the "Rich State and Strong Army Policy" by the Meiji government. During the Meiji period (1868–1912), leaders inaugurated a new Western-based education system for all young people, sent thousands of students to the United States
United States
and Europe, and hired more than 3,000 Westerners to teach modern science, mathematics, technology, and foreign languages in Japan
Japan
(Oyatoi gaikokujin). The government also built railroads, improved road, and inaugurated a land reform program to prepare the country for further development. To promote industrialization, the government decided that, while it should help private business to allocate resources and to plan, the public sector was best equipped to stimulate economic growth. The greatest role of government was to help provide good economic conditions for business. In short, government was to be the guide and business the producer. In the early Meiji period, the government built factories and shipyards that were sold to entrepreneurs at a fraction of their value. Many of these businesses grew rapidly into the larger conglomerates. Government emerged as chief promoter of private enterprise, enacting a series of probusiness policies. In the mid-1930s, the Japanese nominal wage rates were "10 times less" than the one of the U.S (based on mid-1930s exchange rates), while the price level is estimated to have been about 44% the one of the U.S.[89] Postwar period (1945–present)[edit]

Japanese exports in 2005

See also: Japanese post-war economic miracle
Japanese post-war economic miracle
and Economic history of Japan From the 1960s to the 1980s, overall real economic growth was extremely large: a 10% average in the 1960s, a 5% average in the 1970s and a 4% average in the 1980s.[90] By the end of said period, Japan had moved into being a high-wage economy.[91] Growth slowed markedly in the late 1990s also termed the Lost Decade after the collapse of the Japanese asset price bubble. As a consequence Japan
Japan
ran massive budget deficits (added trillions in Yen to Japanese financial system) to finance large public works programs.

Treemap of Japan
Japan
Exports (2016) from Harvard Atlas of Economic Complexity

By 1998, Japan's public works projects still could not stimulate demand enough to end the economy's stagnation. In desperation, the Japanese government undertook "structural reform" policies intended to wring speculative excesses from the stock and real estate markets. Unfortunately, these policies led Japan
Japan
into deflation on numerous occasions between 1999 and 2004. In his 1998 paper, Japan's Trap, Princeton economics professor Paul Krugman
Paul Krugman
argued that based on a number of models, Japan
Japan
had a new option. Krugman's plan called for a rise in inflation expectations to, in effect, cut long-term interest rates and promote spending.[92] Japan
Japan
used another technique, somewhat based on Krugman's, called Quantitative easing. As opposed to flooding the money market with newly printed money, the Bank of Japan
Japan
expanded the money supply internally to raise expectations of inflation. Initially, the policy failed to induce any growth, but it eventually began to affect inflationary expectations. By late 2005, the economy finally began what seems to be a sustained recovery. GDP growth for that year was 2.8%, with an annualized fourth quarter expansion of 5.5%, surpassing the growth rates of the US and European Union
European Union
during the same period.[93] Unlike previous recovery trends, domestic consumption has been the dominant factor of growth. Despite having interest rates down near zero for a long period of time, the Quantitative easing
Quantitative easing
strategy did not succeed in stopping price deflation.[94] This led some economists, such as Paul Krugman, and some Japanese politicians, to advocate the generation of higher inflation expectations.[95] In July 2006, the zero-rate policy was ended. In 2008, the Japanese Central Bank still had the lowest interest rates in the developed world, but deflation had still not been eliminated[96] and the Nikkei 225
Nikkei 225
has fallen over approximately 50% (between June 2007 and December 2008). However, on 5 April 2013, the Bank of Japan
Japan
announced that it would be purchasing 60–70 trillion yen in bonds and securities in an attempt to eliminate deflation by doubling the money supply in Japan
Japan
over the course of two years. Markets around the world have responded positively to the government's current proactive policies, with the Nikkei 225
Nikkei 225
adding more than 42% since November 2012.[97] The Economist
The Economist
has suggested that improvements to bankruptcy law, land transfer law, and tax laws will aid Japan's economy. In recent years, Japan
Japan
has been the top export market for almost 15 trading nations worldwide. Infrastructure[edit]

Shinkansen
Shinkansen
N700 Series

Main articles: Energy in Japan
Japan
and Transportation in Japan In 2005, one half of Japan's energy was produced from petroleum, a fifth from coal, and 14% from natural gas.[98] Nuclear power in Japan made a quarter of electricity production but due to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster there has been a large desire to end Japan's nuclear power program.[99][100] In September 2013, Japan
Japan
closed its last 50 nuclear power plants nationwide, causing the nation to be nuclear free.[101] Japan's spendings on roads has been considered large.[102] The 1.2 million kilometers of paved road are one of the major means of transportation.[103] Japan
Japan
has left-hand traffic.[104] A single network of speed, divided, limited-access toll roads connects major cities and are operated by toll-collecting enterprises.[105] New and used cars are inexpensive, and the Japanese government has encouraged people to buy hybrid vehicles.[106] Car ownership fees and fuel levies are used to promote energy-efficiency.[106] Rail transport is a major means of transport in Japan. Dozens of Japanese railway companies compete in regional and local passenger transportation markets; for instance, 6 passenger JR enterprises, Kintetsu Railway, Seibu Railway, and Keio Corporation.[107] Often, strategies of these enterprises contain real estate or department stores next to stations, and many major stations have major department stores near them.[108] The Japanese cities of Fukuoka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo
Tokyo
and Yokohama all have subway systems. Some 250 high-speed Shinkansen
Shinkansen
trains connect major cities.[109] All trains are known for punctuality, and a delay of 90 seconds can be considered late for some train services.[110] There are 98 passenger and 175 total airports in Japan, and flying is a popular way to travel.[111][112] The largest domestic airport, Tokyo International Airport, is Asia's second busiest airport.[113] The largest international gateways are Narita International Airport
Narita International Airport
(Tokyo area), Kansai International Airport
Kansai International Airport
(Osaka/Kobe/ Kyoto
Kyoto
area), and Chūbu Centrair International Airport
Chūbu Centrair International Airport
(Nagoya area).[114] The largest ports in Japan
Japan
include Nagoya Port, the Port of Yokohama, the Port of Tokyo
Tokyo
and the Port of Kobe.[115] About 84% of Japan's energy is imported from other countries.[116][117] Japan
Japan
is the world's largest liquefied natural gas importer, second largest coal importer, and third largest net oil importer.[118] Given its heavy dependence on imported energy, Japan has aimed to diversify its sources.[119] Since the oil shocks of the 1970s, Japan
Japan
has reduced dependence on petroleum as a source of energy from 77.4% in 1973 to about 43.7% in 2010 and increased dependence on natural gas and nuclear power.[120] Other important energy source includes coal, and hydroelectricity is Japan's biggest renewable energy source.[121][122] Japan's solar market is also currently booming.[123] Kerosene is also used extensively for home heating in portable heaters, especially farther north.[124] Many taxi companies run their fleets on liquefied natural gas.[125] A recent success towards greater fuel economy was the introduction of mass-produced Hybrid vehicles.[106] Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, who was working on Japan's economic revival, signed a treaty with Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
and UAE about the rising prices of oil, ensuring Japan's stable deliveries from that region.[126][127] Macro-economic trend[edit]

Real GDP growth rate from 1956 to 2008

Quarterly change in the real GDP (blue) and the unemployment rate (red) of Japan
Japan
from 2000 to 2010. See Okun's law.

This is a chart of trend of gross domestic product of Japan
Japan
at market prices estimated by the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
with figures in millions of Japanese Yen.[128] See also[129][130]

Year Gross domestic product US dollar exchange Price index (2000=100) Nominal per-capita GDP (as % of US) PPP capita GDP (as % of US)

1955 8,369,500 ¥360.00

10.31 –

1960 16,009,700 ¥360.00

16.22 –

1965 32,866,000 ¥360.00

24.95 –

1970 73,344,900 ¥360.00

38.56 –

1975 148,327,100 ¥297.26

59.00 –

1980 240,707,315 ¥225.82 100 105.85 71.87

2005 502,905,400 ¥110.01 97 85.04 71.03

2010 477,327,134 ¥88.54 98 89.8 71.49

For purchasing power parity comparisons, the US dollar was exchanged at ¥109 in 2010.[131] GDP composition[edit] Industries by GDP value-added 2012.[132] Values are converted using the exchange rate on 13 April 2013.[133]

Industry GDP value-added $ billions 2012 % of total GDP

Other service activities 1,238 23.5%

Manufacturing 947 18.0%

Real estate 697 13.2%

Wholesale
Wholesale
and retail trade 660 12.5%

Transport
Transport
and communication 358 6.8%

Public administration 329 6.2%

Construction 327 6.2%

Finance
Finance
and insurance 306 5.8%

Electricity, gas and water supply 179 3.4%

Government service activities 41 0.7%

Mining 3 0.1%

Total 5,268 100%

Sectors of the economy[edit] Agriculture[edit] Main article: Agriculture, forestry, and fishing in Japan

Rice is a very important crop in Japan
Japan
as shown here in a rice paddy in Tawaramoto, Nara.

The Japanese agricultural sector accounts for about 1.4% of the total country's GDP.[134] Only 12% of Japan's land is suitable for cultivation.[135][136] Due to this lack of arable land, a system of terraces is used to farm in small areas.[137] This results in one of the world's highest levels of crop yields per unit area, with an overall agricultural self-sufficiency rate of about 50% on fewer than 56,000 km² (14 million acres) cultivated. Japan's small agricultural sector, however, is also highly subsidized and protected, with government regulations that favor small-scale cultivation instead of large-scale agriculture as practiced in North America.[135] There has been a growing concern about farming as the current farmers are aging with a difficult time finding successors.[138] Rice accounts for almost all of Japan's cereal production.[139] Japan is the second-largest agricultural product importer in the world.[139] Rice, the most protected crop, is subject to tariffs of 777.7%.[136][140] Although Japan
Japan
is usually self-sufficient in rice (except for its use in making rice crackers and processed foods) and wheat, the country must import about 50% of its requirements of other grain and fodder crops and relies on imports for half of its supply of meat.[141][142] Japan
Japan
imports large quantities of wheat and soybeans.[139] Japan
Japan
is the 5th largest market for EU agricultural exports.[143] Over 90% of mandarin oranges in Japan
Japan
are grown in Japan.[142] Apples are also grown due to restrictions on apple imports.[144] Fishery[edit] Main article: Fishing industry in Japan

Global fish catch in Japan

Japan
Japan
ranked fourth in the world in 1996 in tonnage of fish caught.[145] Japan
Japan
captured 4,074,580 metric tons of fish in 2005, down from 4,987,703 tons in 2000, 9,558,615 tons in 1990, 9,864,422 tons in 1980, 8,520,397 tons in 1970, 5,583,796 tons in 1960 and 2,881,855 tons in 1950.[146] In 2003, the total aquaculture production was predicted at 1,301,437 tonnes.[147] In 2010, Japan's total fisheries production was 4,762,469 fish.[148] Offshore fisheries accounted for an average of 50% of the nation's total fish catches in the late 1980s although they experienced repeated ups and downs during that period. Coastal fishing by small boats, set nets, or breeding techniques accounts for about one third of the industry's total production, while offshore fishing by medium-sized boats makes up for more than half the total production. Deep-sea fishing from larger vessels makes up the rest. Among the many species of seafood caught are sardines, skipjack tuna, crab, shrimp, salmon, pollock, squid, clams, mackerel, sea bream, sauries, tuna and Japanese amberjack. Freshwater fishing, including salmon, trout and eel hatcheries and fish farms,[149] takes up about 30% of Japan's fishing industry. Among the nearly 300 fish species in the rivers of Japan
Japan
are native varieties of catfish, chub, herring and goby, as well as such freshwater crustaceans as crabs and crayfish.[150] Marine and freshwater aquaculture is conducted in all 47 prefectures in Japan.[147] Japan
Japan
maintains one of the world's largest fishing fleets and accounts for nearly 15% of the global catch,[151] prompting some claims that Japan's fishing is leading to depletion in fish stocks such as tuna.[152] Japan
Japan
has also sparked controversy by supporting quasi-commercial whaling.[153] Industry[edit] Main article: Manufacturing
Manufacturing
in Japan Japanese manufacturing and industry is very diversified, with a variety of advanced industries that are highly successful. Industry accounts for 24% of the nation's GDP.[134] Industry
Industry
is concentrated in several regions, with the Kantō region surrounding Tokyo, (the Keihin industrial region) as well as the Kansai region
Kansai region
surrounding Osaka
Osaka
(the Hanshin industrial region) and the Tōkai region
Tōkai region
surrounding Nagoya (the Chūkyō–Tōkai industrial region) the main industrial centers.[25][26][27][28][29][154] Other industrial centers include the southwestern part of Honshū
Honshū
and northern Shikoku
Shikoku
around the Seto Inland Sea
Seto Inland Sea
(the Setouchi industrial region); and the northern part of Kyūshū
Kyūshū
(Kitakyūshū). In addition, a long narrow belt of industrial centers called the Taiheiyō Belt
Taiheiyō Belt
is found between Tokyo
Tokyo
and Fukuoka, established by particular industries, that have developed as mill towns. Japan
Japan
enjoys high technological development in many fields, including consumer electronics, automobile manufacturing, semiconductor manufacturing, optical fibers, optoelectronics, optical media, facsimile and copy machines, and fermentation processes in food and biochemistry. However, many Japanese companies are facing emerging rivals from the United States, South Korea, and China.[155] Automobile manufacturing[edit] Main article: Manufacturing
Manufacturing
in Japan

Lexus
Lexus
LS. The rapid growth and success of Toyota's Lexus
Lexus
and other Japanese automakers reflects Japan's strength and global dominance in the automobile industry.

Japan
Japan
is the third biggest producer of automobiles in the world.[22] Toyota
Toyota
is currently the world largest car maker, and the Japanese car makers Nissan, Honda, Suzuki, and Mazda
Mazda
also count for some of the largest car makers in the world.[156][157] Mining
Mining
and petroleum exploration[edit] Main article: Mining
Mining
in Japan Japan's mining production has been minimal, and Japan
Japan
has very little mining deposits.[158][159] However, massive deposits of rare earths have been found off the coast of Japan.[160] In the 2011 fiscal year, the domestic yield of crude oil was 820 thousand kiloliters, which was 0.4% of Japan's total crude processing volume.[161] Services[edit] Main article: Trade and services in Japan

Japan
Japan
Airlines, though faced with massive debts as of 2010, is considered one of the largest airlines in the world.

Japan's service sector accounts for about three-quarters of its total economic output.[134] Banking, insurance, real estate, retailing, transportation, and telecommunications are all major industries such as Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi
UFJ, Mizuho, NTT, TEPCO, Nomura, Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi
Estate, ÆON, Mitsui
Mitsui
Sumitomo, Softbank, JR East, Seven & I, KDDI
KDDI
and Japan
Japan
Airlines counting as one of the largest companies in the world.[162][163] Four of the five most circulated newspapers in the world are Japanese newspapers.[164] The Koizumi government set Japan Post, one of the country's largest providers of savings and insurance services for privatization by 2015.[165] The six major keiretsus are the Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Fuyo, Mitsui, Dai-Ichi Kangyo and Sanwa Groups.[166] Japan
Japan
is home to 251 companies from the Forbes
Forbes
Global 2000 or 12.55% (as of 2013).[167] Tourism[edit] Main article: Tourism in Japan

Himeji Castle, in Himeji, Hyōgo
Himeji, Hyōgo
Prefecture, is one of the most visited sights in Japan.

In 2012, Japan
Japan
was the fifth most visited country in Asia and the Pacific, with over 8.3 million tourists.[168] In 2013, due to the weaker yen and easier visa requirements for southwest Asian countries, Japan
Japan
received a record 11.25 million visitors, which was higher than the government's projected goal of 10 million visitors.[169][170][171] The government hopes to attract 20 million visitors a year by the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.[170] Some of the most popular visited places include the Shinjuku, Ginza, Shibuya
Shibuya
and Asakusa areas in Tokyo, and the cities of Osaka, Kobe
Kobe
and Kyoto, as well as Himeji Castle.[172] Hokkaido
Hokkaido
is also a popular winter destination for visitors with several ski resorts and luxury hotels being built there.[170][173] Finance[edit]

The main trading room of the Tokyo
Tokyo
Stock Exchange, one of the largest stock exchanges in the world.

The Tokyo
Tokyo
Stock Exchange is the third largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalization, as well as the 2nd largest stock market in Asia, with 2,292 listed companies.[174][175][176] The Nikkei 225 and the TOPIX are the two important stock market indexes of the Tokyo
Tokyo
Stock Exchange.[177][178] The Tokyo
Tokyo
Stock Exchange and the Osaka Stock Exchange, another major stock exchange in Japan, merged on 1 January 2013, creating one of the world's largest stock exchanges.[176] Other stock exchanges in Japan
Japan
include the Nagoya Stock Exchange, Fukuoka Stock Exchange and Sapporo Securities Exchange.[179][180] Labor force[edit] Main article: Labor market of Japan

Unemployment rate of Japan

The unemployment rate in December 2013 was 3.7%, down 1.5 percentage points from the claimed unemployment rate of 5.2% in June 2009 due to the strong economic recovery.[181][182][183] In 2008 Japan's labor force consisted of some 66 million workers—40% of whom were women—and was rapidly shrinking.[184] One major long-term concern for the Japanese labor force is its low birthrate.[185] In the first half of 2005, the number of deaths in Japan
Japan
exceeded the number of births, indicating that the decline in population, initially predicted to start in 2007, had already started. While one countermeasure for a declining birthrate would be to remove barriers to immigration, despite taking new steps towards it, the Japanese government has been reluctant to do so, since foreign immigration to Japan
Japan
has been unpopular among citizens.[186] In 1989, the predominantly public sector union confederation, SOHYO (General Council of Trade Unions of Japan), merged with RENGO (Japanese Private Sector Trade Union Confederation) to form the Japanese Trade Union Confederation. Labor union membership is about 12 million. Law and government[edit] Japan
Japan
ranks 27th of 185 countries in the ease of doing business index 2013.[187] Japan
Japan
has one of the smallest tax rates in the developed world.[188] After deductions, the majority of workers are free from personal income taxes. Consumption tax
Consumption tax
rate is only 8%, while corporate tax rates are high, second highest corporate tax rate in the world, at 36.8%.[188][189][190] However, the House of Representatives has passed a bill which will increase the consumption tax to 10% in October 2015.[191] The government has also decided to reduce corporate tax and to phase out automobile tax.[192][193] In 2016, the IMF
IMF
encouraged Japan
Japan
to adopt an income policy that pushes firms to raise employee wages in combination with reforms to tackle the labor market dual tiered employment system to drive higher wages, on top of monetary and fiscal stimulus. Shinzo Abe has encouraged firms to raise wages by at least three percent annually (the inflation target plus average productivity growth).[194][195][196] Shareholder activism is rare despite the fact that the corporate law gives shareholders strong powers over managers.[197] Under Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, corporate governance reform has been a key initiative to encourage economic growth. In 2012 around 40% of leading Japanese companies had any independent directors while in 2016 most all have begun to appoint independent directors.[194][198] The government's liabilities include the second largest public debt of any nation with debt of over one quadrillion yen, or $8,535,340,000,000 in USD.[199][200][201] Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan has called the situation 'urgent'.[202] Japan's central bank has the second largest foreign-exchange reserves after the People's Republic of China, with over one trillion US Dollars in foreign reserves.[203] Culture[edit]

Our expansion could be much bigger and quicker, but we are held back. Nowhere in the world do the [regulatory approvals] take so long. (The process is) old fashioned. — Tony Fernandes, AirAsia chief. [204]

Overview[edit] Nemawashi (根回し), or "consensus building", in Japanese culture is an informal process of quietly laying the foundation for some proposed change or project, by talking to the people concerned, gathering support and feedback, and so forth. It is considered an important element in any major change, before any formal steps are taken, and successful nemawashi enables changes to be carried out with the consent of all sides. Japanese companies are known for management methods such as "The Toyota
Toyota
Way". Kaizen
Kaizen
(改善, Japanese for "improvement") is a Japanese philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement throughout all aspects of life. When applied to the workplace, Kaizen
Kaizen
activities continually improve all functions of a business, from manufacturing to management and from the CEO to the assembly line workers.[205] By improving standardized activities and processes, Kaizen
Kaizen
aims to eliminate waste (see Lean manufacturing). Kaizen
Kaizen
was first implemented in several Japanese businesses during the country's recovery after World War II, including Toyota, and has since spread to businesses throughout the world.[206] Within certain value systems, it is ironic that Japanese workers labor amongst the most hours per day, even though kaizen is supposed to improve all aspects of life. Some companies have powerful enterprise unions and shuntō. The Nenko System or Nenko Joretsu, as it is called in Japan, is the Japanese system of promoting an employee based on his or her proximity to retirement. The advantage of the system is that it allows older employees to achieve a higher salary level before retirement and it usually brings more experience to the executive ranks. The disadvantage of the system is that it does not allow new talent to be combined with experience and those with specialized skills cannot be promoted to the already crowded executive ranks. It also does not guarantee or even attempt to bring the "right person for the right job". Relationships between government bureaucrats and companies are often close. Amakudari
Amakudari
(天下り, amakudari, "descent from heaven") is the institutionalised practice where Japanese senior bureaucrats retire to high-profile positions in the private and public sectors. The practice is increasingly viewed as corrupt and a limitation on efforts to reduce ties between the private sector and the state that prevent economic and political reforms. Lifetime employment (shūshin koyō) and seniority-based career advancement have been common in the Japanese work environment.[188][207] Japan
Japan
has begun to gradually move away from some of these norms.[208] Salaryman
Salaryman
(サラリーマン, Sararīman, salaried man) refers to someone whose income is salary based; particularly those working for corporations. Its frequent use by Japanese corporations, and its prevalence in Japanese manga and anime has gradually led to its acceptance in English-speaking countries as a noun for a Japanese white-collar businessman. The word can be found in many books and articles pertaining to Japanese culture. Immediately following World War II, becoming a salaryman was viewed as a gateway to a stable, middle-class lifestyle. In modern use, the term carries associations of long working hours, low prestige in the corporate hierarchy, absence of significant sources of income other than salary, wage slavery, and karōshi. The term salaryman refers almost exclusively to males. An office lady, often abbreviated OL (Japanese: オーエル Ōeru), is a female office worker in Japan
Japan
who performs generally pink collar tasks such as serving tea and secretarial or clerical work. Like many unmarried Japanese, OLs often live with their parents well into early adulthood. Office ladies are usually full-time permanent staff, although the jobs they do usually have little opportunity for promotion, and there is usually the tacit expectation that they leave their jobs once they get married. Freeter (フリーター, furītā) (other spellings below) is a Japanese expression for people between the age of 15 and 34 who lack full-time employment or are unemployed, excluding homemakers and students. They may also be described as underemployed or freelance workers. These people do not start a career after high school or university but instead usually live as parasite singles with their parents and earn some money with low skilled and low paid jobs. The low income makes it difficult for freeters to start a family, and the lack of qualifications makes it difficult to start a career at a later point in life. Karōshi
Karōshi
(過労死, karōshi), which can be translated quite literally from Japanese as "death from overwork", is occupational sudden death. The major medical causes of karōshi deaths are heart attack and stroke due to stress. Sōkaiya (総会屋, sōkaiya), (sometimes also translated as corporate bouncers, meeting-men, or corporate blackmailers) are a form of specialized racketeer unique to Japan, and often associated with the yakuza that extort money from or blackmail companies by threatening to publicly humiliate companies and their management, usually in their annual meeting (総会, sōkai). Sarakin
Sarakin
(サラ金) is a Japanese term for moneylender, or loan shark. It is a contraction of the Japanese words for salaryman and cash. Around 14 million people, or 10% of the Japanese population, have borrowed from a sarakin. In total, there are about 10,000 firms (down from 30,000 a decade ago); however, the top seven firms make up 70% of the market. The value of outstanding loans totals $100 billion. The biggest sarakin are publicly traded and often allied with big banks.[209] The first "Western-style" department store in Japan
Japan
was Mitsukoshi, founded in 1904, which has its root as a kimono store called Echigoya from 1673. When the roots are considered, however, Matsuzakaya
Matsuzakaya
has an even longer history, dated from 1611. The kimono store changed to a department store in 1910. In 1924, Matsuzakaya
Matsuzakaya
store in Ginza
Ginza
allowed street shoes to be worn indoors, something innovative at the time.[210] These former kimono shop department stores dominated the market in its earlier history. They sold, or rather displayed, luxurious products, which contributed for their sophisticated atmospheres. Another origin of Japanese department store is that from railway company. There have been many private railway operators in the nation, and from the 1920s, they started to build department stores directly linked to their lines' termini. Seibu and Hankyu are the typical examples of this type. From the 1980s onwards, Japanese department stores face fierce competition from supermarkets and convenience stores, gradually losing their presences. Still, depāto are bastions of several aspects of cultural conservatism in the country. Gift certificates for prestigious department stores are frequently given as formal presents in Japan. Department stores in Japan
Japan
generally offer a wide range of services and can include foreign exchange, travel reservations, ticket sales for local concerts and other events. Keiretsu[edit] Main article: Keiretsu A keiretsu (系列, "system" or "series") is a set of companies with interlocking business relationships and shareholdings. It is a type of business group. The prototypical keiretsu appeared in Japan
Japan
during the "economic miracle" following World War II. Before Japan's surrender, Japanese industry was controlled by large family-controlled vertical monopolies called zaibatsu. The Allies dismantled the zaibatsu in the late 1940s, but the companies formed from the dismantling of the zaibatsu were reintegrated. The dispersed corporations were re-interlinked through share purchases to form horizontally integrated alliances across many industries. Where possible, keiretsu companies would also supply one another, making the alliances vertically integrated as well. In this period, official government policy promoted the creation of robust trade corporations that could withstand pressures from intensified world trade competition.[211] The major keiretsu were each centered on one bank, which lent money to the keiretsu's member companies and held equity positions in the companies. Each central bank had great control over the companies in the keiretsu and acted as a monitoring entity and as an emergency bail-out entity. One effect of this structure was to minimize the presence of hostile takeovers in Japan, because no entities could challenge the power of the banks. There are two types of keiretsu: vertical and horizontal. Vertical keiretsu illustrates the organization and relationships within a company (for example all factors of production of a certain product are connected), while a horizontal keiretsu shows relationships between entities and industries, normally centered on a bank and trading company. Both are complexly woven together and sustain each other. The Japanese recession in the 1990s had profound effects on the keiretsu. Many of the largest banks were hit hard by bad loan portfolios and forced to merge or go out of business. This had the effect of blurring the lines between the keiretsu: Sumitomo
Sumitomo
Bank and Mitsui
Mitsui
Bank, for instance, became Sumitomo
Sumitomo
Mitsui
Mitsui
Banking
Banking
Corporation in 2001, while Sanwa Bank
Sanwa Bank
(the banker for the Hankyu-Toho Group) became part of Bank of Tokyo- Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi
UFJ. Additionally, many companies from outside the keiretsu system, such as Sony, began outperforming their counterparts within the system. Generally, these causes gave rise to a strong notion in the business community that the old keiretsu system was not an effective business model, and led to an overall loosening of keiretsu alliances. While the keiretsu still exist, they are not as centralized or integrated as they were before the 1990s. This, in turn, has led to a growing corporate acquisition industry in Japan, as companies are no longer able to be easily "bailed out" by their banks, as well as rising derivative litigation by more independent shareholders. Mergers and Acquisitions[edit] Japanese companies have been involved in 50,759 deals between 1985 and 2018. This cumulates to a total value of 2,636 bil. USD which translates to 281,469.9 bil. YEN.[212] In the year 1999 there was an all-time high in terms of value of deals with almost 220 bil. USD. The most active year so far was 2017 with over 3,150 deals, but only a total value of 114 bil. USD (see graph "M&A in Japan
Japan
by number and value"). Here is a list of the most important deals (ranked by value in bil. USD) in Japanese history:

Date Announced Acquiror Name Acquiror Mid Industry Acquiror Nation Target Name Target Mid Industry Target Nation Value of Transaction ($mil)

October 13, 1999 Sumitomo
Sumitomo
Bank Ltd Banks Japan Sakura Bank Ltd Banks Japan 45,494.36

February 18, 2005 Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi
Tokyo
Tokyo
Financial Grp Banks Japan UFJ Holdings Inc Banks Japan 41,431.03

August 20, 1999 Fuji Bank Ltd Banks Japan Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank Ltd Banks Japan 40,096.63

March 27, 1995 Mitsubishi
Mitsubishi
Bank Ltd Banks Japan Bank of Tokyo
Tokyo
Ltd Banks Japan 33,787.73

July 18, 2016 SoftBank Group Corp Wireless Japan ARM Holdings PLC Semiconductors United Kingdom 31,879.49

August 20, 1999 Fuji Bank Ltd Banks Japan Industrial Bank of Japan
Japan
Ltd Banks Japan 30,759.61

August 24, 2004 Sumitomo
Sumitomo
Mitsui
Mitsui
Finl Grp Inc Banks Japan UFJ Holdings Inc Banks Japan 29,261.48

August 28, 1989 Mitsui
Mitsui
Taiyo Kobe
Kobe
Bank Ltd Banks Japan Taiyo Kobe
Kobe
Bank Ltd Banks Japan 23,016.80

October 15, 2012 SoftBank Corp Wireless Japan Sprint Nextel Corp Telecommunications Services United States 21,640.00

September 20, 2017 KK Pangea Other Financials Japan Toshiba Memory Corp Semiconductors Japan 17,930.00

Among the top 50 deals by value, 92% of the time the acquiring nation is Japan. Foreign direct investment
Foreign direct investment
is playing a much smaller role than national M&A in Japan. Other economic indicators[edit]

Current account balance 2006[213]

Net international investment position: 266,223 billion[214] (1st)[215] Industrial Production Growth Rate: 7.5% (2010 est.) Investment (gross fixed): 20.3% of GDP (2010 est.) Household income or consumption by percentage share:

Lowest 10%: 4.8% Highest 10%: 21.7% (1993)

Agriculture
Agriculture
– Products: rice, sugar beets, vegetables, fruit, pork, poultry, dairy products, eggs, fish Exports – Commodities: machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, semiconductors, chemicals Imports – Commodities: machinery and equipment, fuels, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles, raw materials (2001) Exchange rates: Japanese Yen per US$1 – 88.67 (2010), 93.57 (2009), 103.58 (2008), 117.99 (2007), 116.18 (2006), 109.69 (2005), 115.93 (2003), 125.39 (2002), 121.53 (2001), 105.16 (January 2000), 113.91 (1999), 130.91 (1998), 120.99 (1997), 108.78 (1996), 94.06 (1995) Electricity:

Electricity
Electricity
– consumption: 925.5 billion kWh (2008) Electricity
Electricity
– production: 957.9 billion kWh (2008 est.) Electricity
Electricity
– exports: 0 kWh (2008) Electricity
Electricity
– imports: 0 kWh (2008)

Electricity
Electricity
– Production by source:

Fossil Fuel: 69.7% Hydro: 7.3% Nuclear: 22.5% Other: 0.5% (2008)

Electricity
Electricity
– Standards:

100 volts at 50 Hz from the Oi River (in Shizuoka) Northward; 100 volts at 60 Hz Southward

Oil:

production: 132,700 bbl/d (21,100 m3/d) (2009) (46th) consumption: 4,363,000 bbl/d (693,700 m3/d) (2009) (3rd) exports: 380,900 barrels per day (60,560 m3/d) (2008) (64th) imports: 5,033,000 barrels per day (800,200 m3/d) (2008) (2nd) net imports: 4,620,000 barrels per day (735,000 m3/d) (2008 est.) proved reserves: 44,120,000 bbl (7,015,000 m3) (1 January 2010 est.)

See also[edit]

Economic history of Japan Economic relations of Japan Japan
Japan
External Trade Organization Tokugawa coinage Tourism in Japan Japanese post-war economic miracle Japanese asset price bubble Machine orders, an economic indicator specific to the Japanese economy Quantitative easing Loans in Japan

Notes[edit]

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